Indian Air Force To Join Desert Flag Exercise in UAE

Indian Air Force welcomes Rafale fighter jets.

For the first time, the Indian Air Force (IAF) will be part of the annual multi-national combat exercise—Desert Flag, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The exercise is scheduled from March 3 to March 27 at Al-Dhafra airbase, learned GDC citing Gulfnews news.

Besides India and the host UAE, the sixth edition of the large force employment warfare exercise will be see air forces of United States of America, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain.

The IAF is participating with six Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft. C-17 Globemaster will provide support for induction/ de-induction of the IAF contingent.

Su-30 MKI aircraft will undertake long range ferry, routing direct from India to the exercise area with aerial refuelling support from IL-78 tanker aircraft.

“The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure to the participating forces while training them to undertake simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment. The participating forces will get an opportunity to enhance their operational capabilities along with mutual exchange of best practices,” an IAF official informed.

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The exercise will help strengthen defence ties between India and the UAE, according to the official, as it comes about a month after Abu Dhabi helped the IAF with mid-air refuelling facilities for its newly acquired Rafale fighter jets while the aircraft were flying from France to India.

The large-scale exercise involving diverse fighter aircraft from across the globe will provide the participating forces, including IAF, a unique opportunity to exchange knowledge, experience, enhance operational capabilities and interoperability, he added.

Exercising and interaction with the participating nations in a dynamic and realistic warfare environment will also contribute to strengthen international relations.

Over the last decade, IAF has regularly hosted and participated in multi-national operational exercises, where-in collaborative engagements are undertaken amongst the best air forces of the world.

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